Keep “Forgiven Forever”

To balance out last week’s call to retire a poorly written lyric, I want to put in a plug for what I believe will be the next great worship song in Christian music.

“Forgiven Forever” was written by Mark Harris, Glenn Packiam, and Carl Cartee. Cartee has recorded the song for an upcoming CD release, and you can hear it now by clicking HERE. The MP3, lead sheet, and guitar chart are all available for download by right-clicking the appropriate link.

I like this lyric because of the biblical approach it takes to the concept of salvation, leaving the old life of shame behind and recognizing that Christ was available before the decision was ever made:

Once we were lost and so far away
Wandering in darkness, covered in shame without You, without You
Now we are found by a love that is stronger
No longer blind, we can see all along it was You. It was You

I like the chorus even more, because I’m a born and bred Southern Baptist who believes in discipleship and eternal security. We aren’t saved from our sins just to feel good about ourselves for a while. We are saved to live out the rest of our lives on earth as true followers of Jesus Christ and then move on into everlasting life after this life is over:

Worthy is the Lamb seated in heaven
Beautiful the blood; we are forgiven forever, forgiven forever
The victory is won; Jesus is risen
Love has overcome; we are forgiven forever, forgiven forever

The first verse was rather generalized, but the second deals specifically with the permanence of God. The scope of the verse ranges from the time before man sinned when salvation was planned to the end of time when all the saved will worship Jesus as one:

Before we had fallen, redemption was planned
You were our hope long before time began. It was You. It was You
After the heavens and earth pass away
We’ll stand together with one voice and say: It is You. Jesus, it’s You

Finally, the bridge brings it home with an amplified scripture passage:

No death, nor life, no present or future
No angel, no demon, no power, no creature
Can take me away from the love that’s in Jesus Christ, yeah

I realize most of you who read this blog are most familiar with and prefer Southern Gospel. This isn’t a Southern Gospel song, but I don’t mind. All the elements that usually turn me off when it comes to Praise and Worship music are avoided in this lyric. Everything that should be done right is done right, even if it’s not in a style you might want to hear on a daily basis.

This is a great, creative, and doctrinally sound lyric with a timeless quality, literally and figuratively. That is the reason I’m applauding “Forgiven Forever.”

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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7 Comments

  1. RDB
    Reply February 16, 15:05 #1 RDB

    An unusual amount of meaning packed away in this P&W song. It’s sad that so many of them don’t have this kind of meaning. Even more sad is that so many of them probably aren’t necessarily intended to stand up to scrutiny. If you happen to examine them line by line and point out that they don’t make sense etc etc then everybody shrugs their shoulders and says so what? Not a good sign for the future of evangelicals.




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  2. New SoGo Fan
    Reply February 16, 15:13 #2 New SoGo Fan

    There’s a worship song I recently came across called “Desert Song.” I was really struck by the power of the lyric, and then the story behind it. This video is worth a look:




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  3. j-mo
    Reply February 24, 17:59 #3 j-mo

    I’m assuming that, like most southern baptists I know, you don’t consider whether someone does or doesn’t believe in eternal security a central issue to salvation or a persons Christian walk. So, my question is, what is the logic in giving a song bonus points for being denominationally divisive? Especially when the song is designed to be sang in unity during a corporate worship experience. Even in a southern baptist church it’s unlikely everyone would agree on eternal security.

    This seems akin to a freewill baptist writing a song about foot-washing or a Christian church member writing a song about weekly communion and expecting it to be a big worship hit among all Christians.

    For the record, I happen to agree with your stance on eternal security. So I like the lyrics to this song. But I don’t think I’d want to do it at our church where I happen to know that a large percentage in attendance every Sunday don’t agree with my stance on eternal security. I know I wouldn’t like being in a church that sang worship songs about speaking in tongues.




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  4. admin
    Reply February 24, 18:20 #4 admin Author

    j-mo,
    I think you’ll find that like most lyrics that are sung in church, most people won’t even notice it’s promoting the concept of eternal security unless it’s specifically pointed out to them. I believe you could sing it in many churches that don’t buy into the idea, and they would not object or even care.

    If it did come across as divisive, I wouldn’t endorse it so strongly, but the song is about more than just a controversial doctrine. I couldn’t even say if the reference was deliberate on the part of the songwriters.




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  5. j-mo
    Reply February 25, 10:33 #5 j-mo

    So you’re saying you would view the “forgiven forever” line here sort of like the great Lionel Ritchie’s “fiesta forever” line. A cool hook and a fun concept to think about (who wouldn’t want to fiesta forever?) but not something that necessarily holds up to scrutiny for everyone who analyzes it.

    And, just in case the intention of this post is in question: :)




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  6. admin
    Reply February 25, 19:21 #6 admin Author

    I got your denominationally divisive song right here:

    “There’s millions who have come and millions on their way. They’re leaving their dead churches for this Pentecostal faith.”




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